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Stories from The Sky: Love at first Flight

Imagine this scene, pine trees as far as the eye can see. In fact Cayle Royce, a double amputee who had taken part in the 2014 Flying for Heroes expedition, is seeing the tips of the pines as far as his eyes can see in this sea of green with a seized engine. He takes a tight left turn having spotted the only viable landing option within reach…

We were approached by The Adventurists, a bunch of likeminded lunatics who organise amazing adventures around the world, to help them run the inaugural Icarus Trophy. I obviously agreed but on the basis that Cayle could also take part. He had absolutely no clue at the time. All he was told was that he was going on an adventure and we would teach him how to fly solo. 6 months later, having secured sponsorship from Help for Heroes to teach him how to fly, we were on our way to America.

Cayle was flying his first ever Cross Country flight in a long-distance air race, so you can imagine the intense fear creeping in as his engine splutters and starts to fail. This could have been disastrous but as is testament to his nature, he didn’t panic. He managed to spot the only piece of open land for miles amongst 100ft high pine trees and was able to maneuver his specially modified ParaTrike in to a remote nugget of farmland.

Cayle had to be rescued on his first flight. You gotta love that!

Learn to Paramotor with Cayle

So now, back to the tree tops. How is he going to make the finish line? The Icarus Trophy is the World's Toughest Paramotor Race and Cayle had found himself grounded before the race had even started!

Well, it was rather simple really. Yet again Kester Haynes came to the rescue and after a quick change over with a spare engine the new girl didn’t miss a beat for the rest of the trip.

My role was to track the pilots via GPS (we would never leave them up there all alone!) and follow the pack in a monster RV. With any good adventure comes the opporunity for many a hearty piss up in the evenings. This became par for the course as we celebrated with Cayle and the rest of the Icarus Trophy competitors as they regaled us with their own stories from the sky. For once I felt a pang of jealously for not having taken part in these aerial adventures!

Cayle completed the route in 10 days which is an amazing achievement and has inspired other disabled people to learn how to fly and take part in this fantastic event. Watch this 60 second video of Cayle’s story from the air.

Happy landings,

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